Now in its 11th iteration, the International Art Competition encourages the creation of quality art by Latter-day Saints; showcases the breadth and diversity of Latter-day Saint cultural production made manifest through various styles, techniques, media, and voices; and expands the art canon from the familiar images that currently adorn the halls of ward buildings to include new approaches to depicting gospel principles.
Drawn from over 900 submissions from countries around the world, the 151 works were made by artists from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay. The works come in a variety of media, from woodcut to photography, from sculpture to textile.
While the purchase awards were granted by the museum acquisition team, the artworks and merit awards were selected by a team of five jurors, themselves representing three continents: Africa, North America, and Europe. They are scholar Herman du Toit, artist J. Kirk Richards, artist Jean Richardson, scholar Analisa Coats Sato, and folklorist Elaine Thatcher. Such efforts shift our view of Latter-day Saint art from a centralized model to one that expansively captures new voices, expands our cultural legacy, and redefines our visual heritage.
For the 11th International Art Competition, artists were asked to consider the theme—Meditations on Belief—and Psalm 77:11–12: “I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”
Artists from around the world responded to this theme in distinct, thoughtful, and personal ways, often bearing profound testimony through their work and accompanying artist statements. In the 151 works selected for this exhibit, a number of repeating ideas emerged: nature as a site of devotion for God and His creation; a sense of awe and humility communicated and captured in the universe and in the stars; devoted women seeking revelation, expressing gratitude, or manifesting faith; Jesus Christ—His miracles, His grace, His divinity; stories from the scriptures; explorations of family and ancestors; adversity, suffering, healing, and hope; and the temple as a place of holiness and refuge. While in no way comprehensive, this list of repeating ideas seems to summarize what it means to truly believe.